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Chargers 90-in-90: EDGE Carlo Kemp

The Chargers could always use more depth at edge rusher and Carlo Kemp could provide that in a pinch.

NFL: AUG 20 Preseason - Cowboys at Chargers Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Carlo Kemp is a native of Boulder, Colorado where he attended Fairview High School and played under head coach Tom McCartney. As a prep, Kemp averaged a 4.0 GPA all four years while lettering his entire career with the varsity squad, including a state runner-up finish in 2013. He would end his high school career with 203 total tackles and 14 sacks. He recorded 27 tackles for loss over his final two seasons and even chipped in 11 rushing touchdowns on offense as a junior. After graduating, the three-time CHSAA decided to take his talent east to play for the Michigan Wolverines of the Big Ten.

As a true freshman in 2016, Kemp made his collegiate debut against his hometown team, the Colorado Buffalos. He did not record any statistics and the coaching staff decided not to fully burn his redshirt.

The following year, Kemp played in all 13 games but finished the season with just three tackles. He earned a starting role ahead of the 2018 season (12 games) at defensive end and finished the season as an Academic All-Big Ten selection with 17 total tackles.

In 2019, Kemp started 12 games once again, recording 40 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks. His final season with the Wolverines came during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season where he played in sex games with five starts. He ended that season with 21 tackles, three for loss, and two sacks.

Kemp initially signed with the Packers after going undrafted during the 2021 NFL draft. He would be waived prior to the season on August 31st and wouldn’t be picked up again until December 31st when the Broncos came calling. That stint in Denver unfortunately lasted just a few days before he was cut again in January 3rd.

On February 22nd, Kemp was selected 10th overall by the Pittsburgh Maulers of the USFL. He would go onto lead the team with five sacks over the league’s inaugural season. On July 21, Kemp was signed by the Chargers where he’d spend the entirety of the 2022 season on the practice squad before signing a reserve/future contract with the team following the season.

Basic Info

Height: 6’3
Weight: 281
College: Michigan
Experience: 2
Years with team: 1

Contract Status

“Carlo Kemp signed a 1 year, - contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of -. In 2023, Kemp will earn a base salary of $750,000, while carrying a cap hit of $750,000.” -

The Good

Kemp offers versatility on the Chargers defensive line with good size to play both on the edge and at three-technique on passing downs. He’s an incredibly smart player (as noted by his academic resume) and is likely an easy player to coach. He also showed some promise during last year’s preseason slate, including the game against the Cowboys.

The Bad

Kemp doesn’t exhibit notable athleticism for an edge player which is likely the main reason he saw middling production in college. His 5.07 40 time is already below average for an edge rusher and would only be an average time for a defensive tackle weighing over 300 pounds. Kemp suffers from being a ‘tweener in the NFL and he’ll have to find the best place for him before he can progress enough to be more than a practice squad player.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2023?

The Chargers added Tuli Tuipulotu in the second round which means the team will have a solid four edge rushers to keep on the active roster. While I don’t think Kemp has much of a chance to make the final 53, I believe he’s a great candidate to hold practice squad spot for another year. New UDFAs Andrew Farmer and Brevin Allen both offer intriguing projects at the position but Kemp currently has the inside track with a year of experience under his belt.